FedEx has placed orders for several 30 million euros high speed freight trains to distribute its express cargo across Europe, according to well-placed sources.
The integrator has already publicly announced that it is backing the CAREX (Roissy Cargo Rail Express) project that would see dedicated cargo trains run on the European high speed rail network, reducing the need for flights and enabling it to expand at Paris despite strict night Flight limits.
As well serving cities on the comprehensive French passenger TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse) network, which covers all the major cities in the country, this could also include other European cities served by high speed lines, including London, Brussels, Liege, Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, and even the cities on the Spanish AVE high speed train system.
Four companies, including Alstom and Siemens have apparently responded to a tender to supply cargo trains for the system, and FedEx is understood to have chosen Alstom. Each carriage would carry four 10 foot high 747-sized pallets, carried on a low deck between the wheels, with space for four AKA/LD3 containers over the wheels.
The project, which has the support of European transport commissioner, Jacques Barrot, could carry as much as 700,000 tonnes of express cargo in its fi rst year, and would be in accordance with recently announced European Union targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
As well as FedEx, the airports of Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Liege, Cologne and Frankfurt are involved in the project, as is TNT, whose hub is in Brussels. Air France KLM is also believed to be studying use of the system for feeding or distributing general cargo, and the service could be extended to include the new DHL hub in Leipzig, which opens next year.
Previous attempts to introduce rail feeders for general cargo in Europe have foundered on insuffi cient volumes to fill a whole train on a regular basis. Having integrator shipments as a base load could resolve that problem, though one source admits that the project will still need “a lot of government subsidies”. – Peter Conway